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The GrunkleGuru

Grunkle is a slang term for the thick rough on a golf course that I have been using for many years. Given my penchant for inaccurate tee balls, I have become a bit of a guru out of the thick stuff, hence the name. This is a site for my random thoughts about sports (espeically golf) and life in general. While nothing special, it will hopefully offer a break from the daily drudgery for both you and me.

November 01, 2005

Rule of the Week - I Was Lost, But Then I Was Found

Standing on the tee, our hero, The Grunkle Guru stares at the green on this short, and narrow par-4. He has been swinging well all day, and the conditions feel right to take a shot at driving the green.

After striking with all the force he can muster he hits a towering drive that starts right, and keeps going into the trees. Carefully, the Guru tracks the flight of his ball and marks where it went in. It does not look good as he never sees the ball come to a rest so he decides to play a provisional ball.

Truly steamed and tense right now, he makes an overly aggressive swing and the results are what is to be expected in this situation. A bad miss-hit that ends up in the rough well short of his first ball.

The Guru strides to where he thinks the first ball landed, and after a short search (two minutes) decides to go back and play his provisional. Now playing for bogey, the Guru makes a smooth swing and miraculously holes the shot for par. Just after he finishes celebrating a playing partner finds his first ball deep in the woods.

“Just pick it up.” said the Guru. “I already have par in the bag, no sense playing that shot and risking disaster.” The Guru retrieves the first ball and continues with his round. Has the Guru broken the rules of golf?

Yet again, the Guru is at fault. A provisional ball does not render the first ball lost until it is played from the place where the original ball is likely to be, or from a point nearer the hole. Since he holed out his next shot, the Guru will be at fault if he proceeds to the next hole and tees off.


At 12:42 PM, Blogger Patrick Eakes said...

You are correct about the scenario you describe, of course, as the provisional ball was still a provisional when it was holed.

Had you declared the original ball lost after two minutes, then holed the provisional, you would get to keep your par, I believe.

However, a crafty opponent would still be able to search for the ball you declared lost. And if he found it before the five minute mark AND before you holed the ball that was formerly your provisional, he could force you to play the original ball.

At least that is how I understand the rule as explained to me by someone much smarter than I am.

At 9:52 AM, Blogger The Grunkle Guru said...


I agree with your assessment, but that is where the fun comes in. It is not what you or I think, but rather what the 'committee' thinks in tournament play. In a friendly game, it could lead to someone not being invited to join the group for the next round. Ain't the rules grand!?

At 2:39 PM, Blogger Patrick Eakes said...

I recall a terrible start to a 72 hole tournament about 15 years ago.

I hit my tee shot deep in the right woods. Then I hit my provisional out of bounds left. My next provisional went back into the woods right.

Luckily, I found the original ball deep in the woods and declared it unplayable. I returned to the tee, played the hole in regulation from there, and reported a double bogey to my scorer.

He insisted that I had to count the provisionals, and I insisted the provisionals were out of play once I found the original ball.

I eventually had to get the rules committee involved to back me up.


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